By Jeff Portnoy
its time to take a look at where the UH basketball team is as it gets ready to enter Big West Conference play. The " exhibition season" is over, and the Bows ended it with a 1-2 record in the Diamond Head Classic and a 5-5 record against Div 1 opponents.
The good: Vander appears to be rounding into playing shape after a strong performance in the Tournament. Yesterday he was the entire Rainbow offense scoring 29 points to go along with 15 rebounds. If he continues his improvement over earilier games, he will be the inside force we all predicted before the season began.
Issac Fotu is going to be the real deal. He isnt quite there yet, but he continues to show that he can score in the paint and rebound. And Christian Standhardinger plays hard on both ends of the court and can be counted on to score 10 plus points every game even if his shot selection at times is questionable
Teamwise, it can rebound. They play hard and can beat lower level teams, and in spurts, can match play with better teams like Illinois, Mississippi, and UNLV.
The negative, the team really has not found a backcourt that can compete with better teams. Way too may turnovers lead to easy transition baskets, and there is no one, at least not yet, who can relied upon to score from outside the paint. Yes i know that in a single game, Jawato or Clair make a few threes, but they follow that by shooting 1-7. Brereton is getting less and less playing time as he has been really struggling from the field, and Spearman is either hot or cold. Free throw shooting has been fair, but needs to improve ( yesterday it kept the Bows in the game as they went 16-20 from the stripe).
So the big question is can the inside game compensate for the lack of quality guard play and outside shooting? There is plenty of heart and effort, but frankly, you have to be concerned about the the backcourt issues as the team enters Big West play, a league dominated by backcourts But some good news which i will write about more later this week, the Big West is not very good. It has no dominating team, and several really poor ones, so the Bows have a chance to compete for the upper half of the league as Gib continues to look for the best backcourt combination he can find as the team moves towards its ultimate goal, winning the Conference Tournament.
So those are my thoughts. What are yours? By the way, i will announce the contest winner later this week. Really only two upsets in the Tournament, both by Indiana State and both in OT, but what a great Conference final. I had the pleasure of hosting Arizona and beating Gary Dickman's Aztecs was a real joy. Dont be surprised if you see the Wildcats in the Final Four. Hoopstalk tonight at 7. Hope you all had a great Holiday.